Portland Public Schools has referred renewal of a levy that currently funds teaching positions across the district for voters’ consideration on the November 5, 2019 ballot. Approximately one in three Portland Public Schools teaching positions is funded by the current levy.
At Whitman, the levy funded 4 teaching positions in the 2018-19 school year. Over the past five years, the levy funded an average of 825 teaching positions annually throughout the district. If the levy is renewed, that average is estimated to be maintained.
If renewed, the levy is estimated to produce $99.9 million for Portland Public Schools in school year 2020-2021 and would fund teaching positions and classroom supports, such as Special Education services, at every school in the district.
These teachers would:
Represent approximately one-third of all teaching positions in Portland Public Schools.
Teach core classes, as well as enrichments for elementary and middle grades, such as library services and physical education, and electives in varied interest areas and disciplines for high school students.
Teach career and technical programs and STEM programs, including computer science education, and college and career readiness skills.
Provide specialized academic support for students, such as additional instruction in areas such as reading and math.
The proposed levy would not be a new tax. It would be a renewal of the current levy, first approved by voters in 2011 and renewed in 2014. Currently, homeowners pay $1.99 per $1,000 of assessed home value for the levy. If approved by voters, homeowners would continue to pay the same rate for an additional five years.
If passed, this local option would require independent citizen oversight so that tax dollars would be used for purposes approved by local voters. Funds would be placed in a sub-account to facilitate oversight and accurate reporting. No funds from this local option levy would be used for district administration.
If the levy is not approved in 2019, the levy rate would not be renewed and Portland Public Schools would not receive an estimated $99.9 million in tax revenue in school year 2020-21, which may result in the loss of funding for up to 825 teaching positions.
This school district is funded through state, local and federal dollars. While the Oregon Legislature did increase funding for school districts, there is still a difference between what the state funds for K-12 education and what is budgeted for Portland Public Schools to fund the staff and services currently serving all students. If approved by voters, the proposed levy would provide funds for the difference in the budget.
Ballots are due by Tuesday, November 5 at 8pm. If you plan to return your ballot by mail, one first-class stamp is necessary. According to the Multnomah County Elections Division, October 31 is the last day for voters to safely mail ballots. You can also drop your ballot at an official drop box. Ballots delivered to an official drop box never require postage. Visit multco.us/dropsites to find an official drop box.
However you choose to vote, I encourage you to vote in this election and in every election.
Please plan to attend one of our four public meetings, or use our online feedback survey.
Thursday, October 17 at 6 p.m., Lent K-8 School (5105 SE 97th Ave.)
Saturday, October 19 at 9 a.m., Faubion PK-8 School (2930 NE Dekum St.)
Tuesday, October 22 at 6 p.m., Roosevelt High School (6941 N. Central St.)
Thursday, October 24 at 6 p.m., Benson Polytechnic High School (546 NE 12th Ave.)
The online survey is available in all PPS supported languages at:
November is upon us and it has been a great fall at Whitman! The Run for Whitman was a fun event where students were able to get exercise and support their school. We had our first recognition assembly as a school and it was wonderful to see so many families in attendance. Our students were so pumped up to sing the Whitman rap together as a school at the assembly!
Please make sure you sign up for Parent Teacher Conferences. They are November 25th and 26th this year. It is a great time for families to meet with teachers and hear about their student's progress both socially and academically. It is also a time for families to share more about their students and collaborate with teachers around their student's success.
As is past practice at Whitman, we will not have students wear Halloween costumes to school this year. We want to be inclusive of all families including those families who don’t celebrate Halloween or find purchasing a costume a hardship. We also want to keep the focus on student learning for the day.
Stephanie Murdock and Celina Garrido
As the temperature drops with winter’s approach, the need for warm clothing rises. In Portland Public Schools, families that need help acquiring clothes and other essentials can turn to a long-established program.
A meal that started as a cultural celebration at one of Portland Public Schools’ dual language immersion schools has now gained national recognition as one of the best meals served at a K-12 school in the United States.
With parent-teacher conferences just around the corner, it is important to know that PPS offers free interpretation services and other resources for our linguistically diverse families. If you need an interpreter for the conferences, which will be held Nov. 25-26, let your school know.
2:15 PM Recognition Assembly